Forewarning: This may induce cognitive dissonance in some. Readers’ discretion is always advised.
“What other people think of you is none of your business. If you start to make that business your business, you will be offended for the rest of your life.” -Deepak Chopra
As I was scrolling on my Facebook timeline, in an episode of final exam studying procrastination, I came across an article entitled, “This One’s For My Skinny Sisters” by Janne Robinson. The title should give you a gist of what the article itself contains; however, I suggest you read it before continuing on with my post.
If you read Janne’s piece, you saw that she is addressing something to which numerous girls/women can relate. I am very aware that men have parallel insecurities and body image issues as women; however, I can only empathize…….as a female. Nonetheless, I am a size 2/4 college girl who stands 5′ 10″ tall. I eat enough to put some guys to shame, and my metabolism gives energy efficiency a run for its money. I workout for my health and minor, I admit, vain purposes. I have gone months and years at a time without working out, yet all of what I have previously said remained true; except for height.
Throughout many Western and other societies, I have an ideal female body-physiologically and physically. In many aspects of culture and society, when something is deemed to be the “ideal” or the majority, striking double-standards emerge. Now, I will be the first to say that there will always be double-standards, for various reasons, and this will always be true. Logically, nothing can be consistent 100% of the time. While this may be counter-intuitive, it holds logical reasoning. Moving forward, somewhere along the road, it became okay to condemn people of the majority/ideal realm in society. You see this with models, celebrities, or just day-to-day interactions. I have had friends say, “I’m just going to call all skinny b*****s what you all are: skinny b*****s”! She was/is a plus-sized girl and she did not mean any offence by her statement. Heck, I wasn’t even offended (but when am I ever offended?)! The double-standard emerges in my subsequent thoughts. I usually have witty and sly come backs for my friends, but I could not get myself to EVER say anything of the reverse equivalent. However, it is not really for the reason one would, typically, assume right off the back.
In ideal scenarios, I would not say something like this to another girl because I am a girl. I have not, and probably never will know what it is like to be the “fat girl” or the “big girl”. And, I am glad because I finally love myself the way I am (inside and outside), without regards to society. Just as Janne discussed in her article, I have gone through major self-image issues. Before my upperclassmen years of high school, I always too skinny with small boobs and a butt to match. I always had long legs and I would pray that my final height would be 5′ 5″. I have never had an issue making or keeping friends and popularity, so that made life that much easier. Nonetheless, how others felt about me did not change how I felt about me. I would wish, pray, and dream of being able to look in the mirror and feel blessed with who was looking back at me. I knew that I was going through life’s most awkward phase (puberty) and that time was of the essence.
**SIDE NOTE: Yes, personality, intelligence, intellect, ambition, and attitude can make or break a person’s overall beauty for me. If a passionately intellectual conversation can not occur naturally, if at all, I will usually write you off as a close friend or potential suitor. Consequently, I hold myself to the same high, if not higher, standards. I love and highly value the intangible aspects of a friend or potential beau. I love people and the complexity that comes with the human mind and soul. I smile at strangers and find myself in striking conversations with the cashier of the Busch Garden’s Italian giftshop- I am a social butterfly. However, I will not sugar coat things by saying outer beauty and appearance do/should not matter. They absolutely do, should, and always will matter. It is human nature…it is nature, in general.
Proceeding, In holding myself to the high standards to which I hold others, I value personal responsibility. I do not believe society, or even the media, TELLS us how to look. I know that they may suggest what is or is not ideal; however, they do not sit you down and say “your look is wrong-change it!”. Not every single person is going to agree with your nor my fashion choices, body ideal, or idea of beauty. That is the beauty of being individuals- individuality and definite variance. Moreover, I do not deem every single person as relevant nor do I qualify them as a credible source of opinion. I am not trying, nor will I ever try, to date or become friends with all 7, 280, 896, 900+/- people in the world. Just no. Thus, if one, two, or even 1,000 random people do not like me or find me attractive, I will not die and my life will go on with or without me. I do not lose who I am over people who I will probably never encounter, simply because I have something more important to cater to: my life. It is egocentric, but it is true. With that being said, why should I allow someone else’s opinion to dictate mine? I like to indulge in my beloved carbohydrates, so I do it. I want to maintain my size 2/4 frame, I do it. I want to monogram every thing I own, I basically do it! I do these things because they are my choices. I have consented to what has power over me, and dissented to what I will not allow to have power over me.
Conversely, I still have my insecurities. I am insecure about them because of myself and what I want. I have MY PERSONAL idea of what perfect me is, and I am a perfectionist. That is not Victoria’s Secret’s fault, not Joan Rivers’ (may she rest her fabulous feisty soul), not Taylor Swift’s, nor Vogue’s fault, IT IS MINE! No one, except for me, is truly responsible for how I feel about myself. Yes, it helps that men, women, and children have gone out of their way to tell me that they think I am pretty. It helps. But, that does not stop me from wanting my legs and core to be more toned. It does not stop me from wanting bigger gastrocnemius muscles. It does not stop me from using things from the Dead Sea to pamper my face. Those are all personal choices and I am okay with them. My insecurities keep me human and humble. They suck, but I’d rather find the positives than to dwell in self-pity and finger point at everyone/everything else. These things keep humble and conscious of the feelings of fellow females. My consciousness leads segues courtesy of how I could potentially trigger the insecurities of another female.
We all have our inner demons and low moments. Unfortunately, they are inevitable. Bad,or the absence/lack of good, moments qualify the good moments. I will always know what it is like to not want to leave the house because I am not feeling up to par in the mirror. Because of this, I can sympathize with other girls. Also, I can appreciate the moments where I feel totally confident for one reason or another. We may not all have the same insecurities, but we have insecurities, nonetheless. One girl’s insecurity can hold just as much value to her as that of another. You can still feel perfect, with these insecurities. There are days where I want to complain that my legs are not a toned as I want them to be, then I take a step back and appreciate the fact that I even have the option to complain about my legs. Some girls wish they had long legs to complain about, or in some grave cases; some wish they even had legs. It sounds dramatic, but we always see people who do not know what they have until it is gone; I do my best to prevent that in every facet of my beautifully blessed life.
Take responsibility for your insecurities and state of being. If something is fixable to any stretch of reality, then fix it. DO whatever you can in your power to “fix” what you see as a problem—————-without physically, mentally, professionally or emotionally harming another being. Don’t go protesting about how society needs to change as a whole. Change of the mass is the result of cumulative individual motions in that direction. We tend to forget to focus on who we truly have control over- ourselves. Just keep in mind that you should only see something as a flaw, because YOU genuinely feel that way; not because you think “society” feels that way. Who is society? If someone dismisses you because of your appearance, dismiss them as a relevant person, Why should you really care? While you’re fixated on their comment, they are probably deciding which car they should take out tonight at the same moment. Indeed, it is easier said than done, but keeping this in the front of my mind keeps warrants me to rebound faster than normal.
“You would not worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” Eleanor Roosevelt
I am not saying walk around naked, don’t bathe, or paint yourself pink. If that is what you want, I am sure there are communities for you somewhere in the world. I am saying that when you take responsibility for our choices, outlook, and state of being, you will act accordingly. Moreover, you do not have the moral right to condemn another person for being part of the ideal/majority societal realm, if you do not think it is okay for them to do to you as a member of the minority/less than ideal realm. Idealism itself is extremely subjective. 62 to 74 degrees is my ideal weather temperature range, it is 80-90 degrees for most of my friends. I may think they are crazy for liking not being able to breathe, but that has no effect on what they deem to be ideal. Same difference!
Find something about you that makes you fall in love with yourself. As Narcissistic as that sounds, you shall come to realize how little society/the media has to do with you as an individual and your self-image choices. Life is easier and greater than most care to realize. Focus on personal improvement and radiate positivity, then everything else will fall into place accordingly. You dictate your beauty. XOXO ❤
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt